Mayor's comments on issues of importance to the residents of Sleepy Eye.

One component of our good city that produces a lot of questions and comments, are matters pertaining to Highways 4 and 14. No doubt it is because these two highways are very important to this community and all that happens in it. Questions and comments pertain to noise, safety, speed, construction, stop lights and more. Regretfully, the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) has jurisdiction over them and the City has very little to say about those things. We can make suggestions and regularly do, but they have the final say. The removal of the signal lights is a good example. MnDOT did tell the Council of their plans, did give the City input into the decision, and even with our strong recommendation not to remove them, their traffic studies told them they were not needed.

The beginning of the construction work on Main Street is not the only thing happening on Main Street here in Sleepy Eye. After the recent attention to the buildings on the street, there are a number of things happening that we can all be pleased with and proud of. Several buyers have surfaced and are proposing changes that host a variety of interesting ideas and possibilities. The EDA is involved with a lot of these potential businesses and the promising impact is exciting. I can think of at least six different buildings that have proposed transformations or updates in the planning stages. More information will be forthcoming as owners plans progress.

City Council action at the May meeting moved the renovation of the City Building forward. The changes involve moving the police department into the area vacated by the liquor store and adding an office for the PUC. These are both moves that make sense and really are long overdue. The location of the office for the director of the PUC became a controversy when two of the Council members said they were not informed of the new location for the PUC office and felt it was the wrong place for that office.

When a renovation such as this occurs, one of the architect’s first orders of business is to consult with the staff who will be using the area to see what they need and how arrangements will affect them. That is exactly what the architect did. Then, with the unanimous support of the staff and with the endorsement of the City Manager and PUC Director, the proposed PUC office was located in close proximity to the PUC clerk and other office staff, as well as the copy machine and other office equipment. That office plan was approved by the Council on a 3-2 vote. The architect was instructed to move ahead with final drawings and prepare the project for bidding with construction to begin this fall.

Congratulations to the Sleepy Eye Medical Center on being named the Business of the Year by our Chamber of Commerce. What a great community asset.

Hasn’t it been great to see all the people and activity on and around the lake these last couple weeks? The lake, too, is another great community asset.